It seems like it’s the end, but it’s not.
A gift comes in. You enter the data. The Thank You letter gets printed and mailed and just like that, you’re done. Whew! On to the next thing, right?
Nope. Not even close.
You’re not done yet.
The Thank You letter is not the end of the gift. It’s actually the beginning of the next gift.
Hmmm. So what happens next?
Most donors want to know what happened with their money. So, a logical next step would be to give your donor an update after a short time to let them know what you did with their gift. You could do this with another letter or an email, a phone call, a personal visit, or something else. Figure out what works for you and makes sense for the donor.
Another idea is to have your Executive Director, Development Director, Program Director, Board Chair, a volunteer, or even someone receiving services write a handwritten Thank You note to send to the donor. It doesn’t have to be long, just heartfelt and sincere. This will stand out from the rest of their mail (when’s the last time you got anything handwritten in the mail?) and will mean a LOT to your Baby Boomer donors. Quick tip – use your best penmanship. It’s not so helpful if the writer has the handwriting of a serial killer (had an Executive Director who wrote like that).
Even more personal and meaningful is a personal Thank You call. Have someone from your organization pick up the phone and call the donor to say thank you for their recent gift. You might be surprised at how special this can make a donor feel! Remember, we really want the donor to feel good about their decision to give to your organization, and this may be just the ticket.
Make a point to personally say thank you and give the donor an update the next time you see them out in the community, at a meeting, or at a social event. This kind of conversation warms the relationship and lets them know that you don’t just think about them at the office, when you need money, etc.
Could you do all these things? Sure you could. Put some time in between them so they aren’t all bunched up together – that might be awkward. If you spread them out over time, you’ll drip your gratitude out and provide a gentle feeling of satisfaction for the donor.
We never want the donor to feel like they sent their gift to a black hole, wondering what happened but never finding out. Treat them like a valued investor and communicate what’s happening. Donors don’t usually get this kind of “inside information” so your organization will stand out from the crowd and will likely encourage them to give again.
If you’d like more ideas for thanking your donors, the Get Fully Funded system has a whole section on donor acknowledgement, including a sample Donor Acknowledgement Plan, sample Thank You letters, call scripts, and more. Get all the details at http://getfullyfunded.com/get-